This is What It’s Like to Eat Like a Local in the Prairies
The inaugural Prairie Grid Dinner Series invites top chefs from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba on a culinary tour—and we’ve got a few exclusive recipes to whet your appetite!
Restaurants that celebrate fresh, local ingredients can be found throughout the Prairie provinces—and now, thanks to a new dinner series, you’ll get the chance to taste them all. This fall, Eat North, an initiative launched by Dan Clapson, co-founder and Globe and Mail restaurant critic, will present the inaugural Prairie Grid Dinner Series, an innovative dining experience whereby a team of acclaimed chefs from four cities across three provinces, will collaborate to create a menu with an emphasis on good, simply prepared regional cuisine. “Travelling all over western Canada for work, I feel that a lot of Canadians aren’t familiar with their own country,” explains Clapson, “so I wanted to come up with an initiative that was both one-of-a-kind as well as educational.”
The series kicks off in Calgary on September 29 at the Southern Alberta Pioneers Building and continues to Edmonton (October 1), Saskatoon (October 3) and Winnipeg (October 5). Participating chefs include Calgary’s Jamie Harling (Deane House), Edmonton’s Lindsay Porter (Woodwork), Saskatoon’s Christie Peters (The Hollows and Primal), and Winnipeg’s Adam Donnelly (Segovia and Clementine) and Pamela Kirkpatrick (Forth). “This is the first time that a high-profile dining experience has been organized that focuses solely on the Prairies, and it’s exciting to be a part of it,” says Harling.
Although distanced by geography, all five chefs share a love of Prairie ingredients and the ability to showcase them. The five-course dinners will include Alberta beef and pork, beluga lentils grown in Saskatchewan, cold-pressed canola oil from Manitoba, and produce grown by Chef Peters. According to Clapson, “[Eat North] looked at the Dominion Land Survey, the grid system used to define the Prairies’ agricultural makeup and used it as [their] baseline.” In addition to regional ingredients each course will be paired with a mix of locally made ciders, fruit wines, mead and pyment—a blend of honey and grapes, from Alberta’s Fallentimber.
But it’s not just about the food and drink. For Clapson, presentation is as important as everything else. The decor will also reflect the nature of the Prairie landscape, incorporating a palette of gold and tan, burlap tablecloths, and wheat sheaves hanging from the ceiling. Custom leather table runners by Calgary fashion designer Kat Marks, ceramics from Winnipeg’s Mud and Stone and serving aprons created by Saskatchewan’s Laurie Brown complement the homestead vibe. “This dinner series is very close to my heart,” says Clapson. “It’s a reflection of all of the wonderful things the prairies has to offer.”
3 Prairie-Inspired Dishes to Make ASAP
Made with spicy chorizo, balsamic vinegar and fresh gala apples, this tapas dish is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury.
Thanks to Chef Jamie Harling, you’ll never want plain ol’ chickpea hummus again.
Cured salmon, pickled shallots, crème fraîche—this fresh recipe will delight your palate with flavours and textures.